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Dr. Laurence C. Wright, retired orthodontist Aug. 31, 1927 - Aug. 1, 2011

Dr. Laurence C. Wright, a retired orthodontist and former campus minister at Daemen College, died Monday in Beechwood Continuing Care, Getzville. He was 83.

Born in Cleveland, he moved to Amherst as a teenager. He graduated from Amherst Central High School in 1946, then served 18 months with the Army in Korea.

Dr. Wright was a 1955 graduate of the School of Dental Medicine at what is now Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He earned his postgraduate degree in 1957 from the department of orthodontics at the University of Buffalo's School of Dental Medicine.

His practice had offices in Amherst and Grand Island. In 1971, he received a national award for preventive dentistry from the American Dental Association. He was a former president of the Erie County Dental Society and of the Eighth District Orthodontic Society, as well as a member of several professional organizations.

He had served as a deputy for the International College of Dentistry for several years and was a New York State regent from 1976 to 1982. He also had served the J. Sutton Reagan Cleft Palate Clinic for 25 years.

Dr. Wright retired from his orthodontic practice approximately 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, he went back to college when he was in his 50s, earning a bachelor's degree in religion from Daemen College in 1984; a master's degree in ministry from the International Seminary in 1986; and a doctorate in church affairs from Trinity Seminary in 1989.

Dr. Wright was campus minister at Daemen College for 18 years and served as director of campus ministry from 1987 to 1991. During his years at the college, he was honored as an outstanding alumnus and for his dedication to students.

In 1987, he established the Wright Family Scholarship, a fund that has distributed scholarships to hundreds of students. Daemen Chapel was dedicated and named the Wright Chapel that same year.

In 1998, Dr. Wright wrote and published a Christian living-themed book titled "The Good News Letters of Life." A year earlier, he began an eight-page "Good News Letter" that reached thousands of people during an 18-year period.

Dr. Wright was active in the Delta Sigma dental fraternity, formerly serving as its international chaplain and president of the Buffalo chapter.

He also was active in community organizations, including the YMCA, the Amherst South Rotary Club, the Buffalo Banjo Band and Amherst Community Church.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, the former Joan Finley, and four sons, David, Douglas, James and Jonathan.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in Amherst Community Church, 77 Washington Highway, Snyder.


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